Have you discovered Urupukapuka Island yet? Jump on the ferry to Otehei Bay and explore Northland's best kept secret...FIND OUT MORE

Book Now



  • America's Cup Sailing Experience
  • Auckland Harbour Dinner Cruise
  • Auckland Harbour Sailing
  • High Tea Harbour Cruise
  • Discover the Bay
  • Ocean Adventure
  • Otehei Bay Ferry

Departure date

Group Size

Got a promo code?

How to get to the Bay of Islands

To head north is certainly worth the trip. Whether you drive or fly, when you arrive you’ll still be greeted by beautiful golden sandy beaches with clear blue water lined by pohutukawa trees. 


Getting to Paihia, Bay of Islands by Car

Driving from Auckland to Paihia is approximately a 3 to 4 hour trip depending on conditions. It’s a good idea to take your time and schedule breaks along the way – there are some great places to stop.

If you’re visiting from overseas, make sure you’re well informed about the New Zealand road rules before you drive on the road. We drive on the left-hand side here, and we have quite challenging roads in some places. Before you head off, we recommend you test your driving skills using the online driver training programme.

When driving from Auckland to the Bay of Islands there are two routes you can take: a scenic route or a faster, more direct route that includes an electronic toll road.

To take the scenic route turn off the Northern Motorway at Orewa and continue following the signs towards Whangarei / Paihia.

If you would like to take the more direct route, stay on the Northern Motorway and do not turn off. Make sure you familiarise yourself with the toll fee and how to pay it, you can find more information here.

If you're driving in an electric vehicle (EV), there are lots of places you can stop along the way; Puhoi, Whangarei, Kawakawa to name a few. If you'd like some information on where to go and what you can do while you wait for your EV to charge, JUCY Rentals have put together a great itinerary

Getting to Paihia, Bay of Islands by Air

If you’re planning to get to the Bay of Islands by plane, the closest airport is at Kerikeri, 23 km northwest of Paihia. Flights are a quick 40 minute journey from Auckland, making your journey north quick and easy. For more information about flying to the Bay of Islands, visit Air New Zealand. It's also worthwhile to keep an eye out on Grabaseat to see if you can nab yourself a great deal.


Getting to Paihia, Bay of Islands by Bus

InterCity runs multiple daily bus services to Paihia. Buses leave from the SkyCity bus terminal in central Auckland and you can buy tickets online by visiting InterCity.

If you're driving north, check out our

road trip stop guide
  1. Home
  2. Explore
  3. Explore Blog
  4. How to get to the Bay of Islands